Posted by: adbhutam | February 16, 2018


Would Madhusudana Saraswati  ever mean this?
In this   the verse composed by Madhusudana Saraswati at the end of his Bhagavadgita commentary Gudhartha dipika, chapter 15 is given a completely wrong meaning:
  1. // But then, Madhusudana – a follower of Shankara – writes a shloka in the gUDhArtha dIpikA that says “I am that supreme auspicious one who pervades the shaivas, sauras, gANApatyas, vaiShNavas, and shAktas”:
shaivAH saurAshcha gANeshA vaiShNavAH shakti-pUjakAH |
bhavanti yanmayAH sarve so.ahamasmi paraH shivaH ||3||
This occurs at the end of the 15th Chapter. Does this not show that advaitins subscribed to the ShaNmata view?
Ans. There is no contradiction with Shankara’s position shown earlier that sUrya-devatA is a jIva and not paramAtman.
Here, Madhusudana is simply saying that he is identifying himself with the Brahman (as per the advaitic interpretation of “tattvam asi”) who is the upAdAna kAraNa of the entire jagat, which includes these worshippers. “paraH shivaH” is just an adjective and has nothing to do with the pArvatIpati who dwells in kailAsa.  //
Clearly the meaning given is patently wrong, for: 1. Madhusudana is not identifying himself with Brahman along with these upasakas.
2. For him to identify with Brahman that is the entire creation, this is not the way to do that.  He says in the BG 7.19 commentary:  सकलमिदमहं च वासुदेव इति दृष्ट्या सर्वप्रेम्णां मय्येव पर्यवसायित्वात्।  [Everything that is the objective world (idam) and I is nothing but Vasudeva – this is the realization, drishti, that culminates in the identity with Vasudeva.]  Shankara has cited this verse in the VSN bhashyam too.
3. It would be only silly for Madhusudana to single out only these five types of Upasakas to claim Nirguna Brahman identity as according to Vedanta even the non-upasakas, even non-believers such as chaarvakas, every jiva, even the inert objective world, is Nirguna Brahman fundamentally.  So, Madhusudana need not group only these five upasakas to claim identity with himself as Nirguna Brahman. Nor is he ‘pervading all these upasakas’ selectively when he is the All-pervading Brahman.
Without understanding this fundamental doctrine of Vedanta, the blogger, in his misplaced enthusiasm to somehow, by hook or crook, even by lies and innuendos, co-opt Advaitins to his failing brand of Vaishnavism, has tried to hoodwink his readers by giving a completely wrong and silly meaning to Madhusudana’s verse of lofty purport.
Here are given below the translations of this verse by three different authors:
Swami Gambhirananda, in his translation of the Gudhartha Dipika gives this meaning:
‘I am that Supreme Auspicious in whom get identified all the followers of Shiva, of the Sun, of Ganesha, of Vishnu and the worshipers of Shakti.’
When will these upasakas ‘get identified’ with the Supreme? Obviously only when their upasana fructifies in their realizing their identity with the Supreme Vedantic Brahman that is Nirguna. Vedanta does not accord identity merely because a jiva is fundamentally Brahman.  One should, by effort, realize that personally.  The upasakas listed by Madhusudana are working towards that.  It is only when they succeed in their effort will the identity with Brahman that Madhusudana has realized, will happen.  Thus the blogger’s understanding is completely flawed.
An old Hindi translation of this verse is:
[Translation by Swami Sri Sanatana Dev ji Maharaj, and published as ‘Kashi Granthamala  series no.162’ by Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi. in 1962]
शैव, सूर्योपासक, गणेशपूजक, वैष्णव और शक्ती की उपासना करनेवाले ये सब जिस तत्त्व मे निमग्न रहते हैं वह परम शिव मैं ही हूं | 
[I am that Tattva, the Supreme Shiva alone,  in which (tattva) all these – Shaivas, Suryopasakas, Ganesha worshipers, Vaishnavas and Shakti – meditators are absorbed in. ]  This ‘absorption’ is what is stated by Madhusudana by the word ‘yanmayāḥ’. An upasaka becomes ‘tanmayah’ in his object of upasana; he gains that identity with it.
Here is a Kannada translation by Vidwan …Shastri Hampiholi, published by Vedanta Bharati last year:
ಶೈವ, ಸೂರ್ಯೋಪಾಸಕ, ಗಣೇಶಪೂಜಕ, ವೈಷ್ಣವ, ಶಕ್ತಿಪೂಜಕರೆಲ್ಲರೂ ಯಾವ ತತ್ತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮಗ್ನರಾಗಿರುವರೋ, ಆ ಪರಮಶಿವನೇ ನಾನು. 
    The English translation of this is not any different from the version of the Hindi translator shown above.
Thus one can easily see that none of the Advaitins is concurring with the flawed translation of the blogger. It is evident that he is only promoting his agenda through such mistaken and misleading translations. 
The Uttara Khanda of Padma Purana has a beautiful reference to Panchayatana puja. Bhagavan Krishna says the following to Satyabhama in the 88th Chapter :  [One can readily see that Madhusudana is alluding to this verse of the Padmapurana in his own composition discussed above]
शैवाः सौराश्च गाणेशा वैष्णवाः शक्तिपूजकाः ।
मामेव प्राप्नुवंतीह वर्षांभः सागरं यथा ॥ ४३ ॥
एकोऽहं पंचधा जातः क्रीडयन्नामभिः किल ।
देवदत्तो यथा कश्चित्पुत्राद्याह्वाननामभिः ॥ ४४ ॥ ( 6.88.43-44)
Bhagvan says to Satyabhama , “As rain-water reaches the ocean, so also, the worshippers of Shiva,Surya,Ganesha,Vishnu and Shakti attain me. I am one, yet manifest in five ways. As one Devadatta is addressed in many ways, so also, I am called variously owing to my play. “
Madhusudana Saraswati’s verse has a correspondence with a famous verse of the Shiva Mahimna Stotra, to which too he has written an elaborate, famous commentary bringing out both Hari and Hara as the Supreme:
त्रयी सांख्यं योगः पशुपतिमतं वैष्णवमिति प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने परमिदमदः पथ्यमिति च। रुचीनां वैचित्र्यादृजुकुटिलनानापथजुषां नृणामेको गम्यस्त्वमसि पयसामर्णव इव॥ शिवमहिम्नःस्तोत्रम् ७.
[ The three Vedas, Sankhya, Yoga, the doctrine of Pashupati, the doctrine of Vaishnavas (such are the different paths enjoined). Based on the variety of likings of the follower men of the straight or crooked paths, (they consider) this one as supreme or that one as proper. (However) the goal of all these is You – just like the goal of rivers is the ocean.]
Madhusudana’s ‘Prasthaana bheda’ is a work that is actually, originally, part of his commentary to the above verse. The ‘title’ is also given by him inspired by the words  प्रभिन्ने प्रस्थाने  of the above verse.
There is another very popular such verse by an unknown author:
यं शैवाः समुपासते शिव इति ब्रह्मेति वेदान्तिनो. बौद्धा बुद्ध इति प्रमाणपटवः कर्तेति नैयायिकाः ।
अर्हन्नित्यथ जैनशासनरताः कर्मेति मीमांसकाः. सोऽयं नो विदधातु वाञ्छितफलं त्रैलोक्यनाथो हरिः ॥ (हनुमन्नाटक १ । ३)
[In this verse the poet identifies the highest Truth to be ‘Hari’ who alone is seen variously by different people including the Vedāntins who hold this Truth (called ‘Hari’) as Brahman.  [Here is a site that equates the above two verses:]
MS has commented upon the famous work ‘Mahimna stotram’ of Puṣpadanta as applying to both Śiva and Viṣṇu. At the end of the work MS composes a few verses depicting the Hari-Hara abheda:
भूतिभूषितदेहाय द्विजराजेन राजते |
एकात्मने नमो नित्यं हरये च हराय च ||
Obeisance ever to Him, who is resplendent with His body adorned with vibhūti, ashes, and is of the complexion of camphor (or having the moon on His head), the One Atman that is both Hara and Hari.
हररशंकरयोरभेदबोधो भविु क्षुद्रधियामपीति यत्नात् |
उभयार्थतया  मयेदमुक्तं सुधियः साधुतयैव  शोधयन्तु ॥ १
[With the benediction that the understanding of non-difference between Hari and Shankara may rise even in those with a lowly intellect have I, with effort, commented on the Shivamanhima stotra verses in dual-meaning mode (as applying to Hari and Hara). Let the noble ones accept this as admissible alone.]
The above verses of Madhusudana recall to our mind the various verses Shankara has cited in the Vishnu Sahasra nama bhashya and Sridhara swamin’s benediction to the Bhaagavatam and Veda Vyasa’s verse in the Mahabharata:
माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधायिनौ। वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both ‘Isha-s’ Supreme Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to engage in the stuti of each other.

And Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata:
 रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।
लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।। 12-350-27a 12-350-27b.
//The Vaishnavas worship you with reverence as Vishnu. The Vedic philosophers tell that you are the Supreme Consciousness. The Shaivas believe that you are Śiva & the Kapalikas praise you as Adibhairava. The Shakteyas consider you as the manifestation of the supreme power Shakti. People chant your praise in a number of ways. Ignorant people assume that you are insignificant.The wise recognize your infinite greatness.// [Iit is noteworthy that Sri Annamācārya excludes the vaiṣṇavas from Vedāntins, just as Śankara has excluded the Pāñcarātra/bhāgavata school from the Vedānta darśana in the BSB:
koluthuru mimu vaishnavulu, koorimitho vishnudani palukuduru mimu vaedaantulu, parabrahma anuchu
By ‘Vedāntins’ he obviously refers to Advaitins for they alone hold the Supreme Reality to be ‘Brahman’ beyond all names and forms. Those who hold the highest tattvam to be ‘Viṣṇu’ (the deity identified as Lakṣmipati, etc.) are not vedantins as per this composer. None other than a true Vedantin can compose a verse that gives that lofty message that finds correspondence with Madhusudana and Pushpadanta and several unknown authors.
Madhusudana’s verse is reminiscent of the Prapanchasara where all deities are taught as upasya-s leading to moksha. This work has been authenticated by none other than Amalananda [a ‘vaishnava’ advaitin 🙂 ], the famous author of the famous work ‘Kalpataru’, a commentary on the Bhamati. In that work the author explicitly mentions the work Prapanchasara as authored by the ‘Acharya’, Shankara and also cites a verse therefrom.
Thus, Madhusudana Saraswati, a Vedantin, just because his ishṭa devatā was Krishna/Vishnu, was not a bigot just as Gaudapada, Shankara, Sureshwara, etc. He was a Hari-Hara abheda vādin,  and also a sarva-devatā aikya vādin, as could be seen above. It is also noteworthy that he is listing vaishnavas along with all the other upasakas.  In the work ‘Vedanta Kalpa Latika’ he has stated vaishnavas as being ‘outside the Vedanta.’
Om Tat Sat


  1. I appreciate your patience in reading through their blogs fully. Their nonsensical interpretation of Sri Rudram made me explode.

    Kind Regards

    • Yes, nonsensical. They envy the great popularity of the Srirudram among non-vaishnavas and hatched up this plan to somehow hijack it to ‘Narasimha’. However, their enthusiasm ends there. Names of Rudra such as Shankara, Shiva, etc. are anathema to them as they know that they invoke the thought of Rudra only by default and not Narasimha. That is the reason they have been forbidden to give non-vishnu names to their children by Periyazhwar

  2. In the same Vedanta Kalpa latika madhusudana said Shaivam and Shaktam are worst than the worst and he said it is useless to discuss them..

    • Shaiva and Shakta as culminating in Brahma jnanam is non-contradictory to Vedanta. So has Madhusudana approved these schools: shaivAH saurAshcha gANeshA vaiShNavAH shakti-pUjakAH |
      bhavanti yanmayAH sarve so.ahamasmi paraH shivaH ||3||

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